chat Writer Ganesh Patro talks about returning into the limelight after a hiatus
The writer of Rudra Veena, Maro Charitra, Idhi Katha Kadhu, Mayuri, Seetaramayyagari Manavaralu is back after a sabbatical and how! Speaking from Chennai he says he is missing all the excitement and news about Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu shattering all time records but is keeping himself up to date with online reviews and news. He says, “Just because we have a hero’s dates and a heroine from Mumbai , it’s not right to make a film with five songs and four fights. It may fetch you money but it is setting a bad precedent. Who are we to judge and say audience will watch only formula? People ask me how I can come back and write after this ten to fifteen year gap.You are not in vogue and can you adapt to today’s requirement? Hold a cuckoo’s neck tightly for ten years and then leave it; will it sing like a cuckoo or make noises like a crow? What I know are ‘ manchi ’ (good) dialogues and not ‘punch’ dialogues.”
Revealing that Srikant has taken the title Seetamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu from folk literature, the dialogue writer adds that he doesn’t approach anyone for work, that was his principle from the beginning, and in his case it is out of sight out of mind. Also maybe because he lives in Chennai, producers thought it would be best to get work done from locally available writers.
“I think I’m not used to writing for dishum dishum films. My last film was Kranti Kumar's Tommidi Nelalu starring Soundarya.”
Ganesh Patro who used to write for plays was a specialist in using regional dialects. For SVSC he used the East Godavari dialect; he observes the risk involved in a language is that if we stress too much on clarity in pronunciation, the dialect gets lost. He heaps praises on Dil Raju the producer and Srikant as well, “Dil Raju has courage; it’s not easy to make a film with two star heroes, what would have happened to the film if they had thrown tantrums. They shot the wedding scene in a coconut plantation in Chennai and it rained. They spent so many crores on the wedding scene. The emphasis was more on making a good film though and that’s why it was successful. Srikant is a p aata taraha manishi (old fashioned man); he likes the language, respects old customs, habits and people. The moment I heard it I felt it was not a story but a slice of life. Srikant is an example and has reached the league of Balachander with this second movie. He brought me so much glory in this age and I’m grateful to him.”
Ganesh Patro’s forte is to bring that unique sensitivity to on-screen relationships and lace it with light hearted humour. Take for instance all the grandparent-grandchild relationships in SVSC and Seetaramayyagari Manavaralu . “Whenever I’d go overboard in my language and limits, Srikant would trim it. He used some experiences and relationships from our culture and presented it beautifully.” He signs off saying that he practices what he preaches mostly and the key to happiness is to never hurt others.
The moment I heard the story of ‘Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu’ I felt it was not a story but a slice of life.